Ocean-going, Lake-bound – What’s Next?

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 30D, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Lookback Photos - One Year Ago, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Summer
Derelict Vessel - Hay River, NWT - 1

Derelict Vessel – Hay River, NWT – 1

Derelict Vessel - Hay River, NWT - 2

Derelict Vessel – Hay River, NWT – 2

Derelict Vessel - Hay River, NWT - 3

Derelict Vessel – Hay River, NWT – 3

A summer’s day in early July finds my son, newly graduated from high school, awaiting word of acceptance to the University of Alberta and the possessor of a day off from his job cooking in a local restaurant. My son and I travel north from High Level to Hay River, Northwest Territories and the Great Slave Lake. My son needs the practice of driving for his driver’s test. He’s at the wheel. For my son, the challenge is not only the technical aspects of driving; for him, the challenge is also that of overcoming learned travelling behaviour – on long drives sleep has become a means to shorten travel’s distance. The float and glide of our 2000 GMC half ton cushions driving’s dips and rises comfortably along our three-hundred kilometre route northward. My son nearly falls asleep at the wheel and I prompt him to direct his attention to his driving.

The journey takes us to Alexandra falls and onward into Hay River’s Great Slave Lake – both become excellent photo-taking opportunities; my son is quite daring in the photography he attempts looking out from 100 foot cliffs. In Hay River, we encounter the boat within this image dragged more than a kilometre from the Great Slave Lake; its location is at that point in Hay River’s municipal jurisdiction where the industrial area ends and its housing development begins – a somewhat quirky location at first glance. This boat is no more than 500 feet from the nearest Hay River home.

Thinking this image through I’m left with several questions.

Ocean-going vessels that become marine salvage are vessels that are taken to locations in the world where they can be retired, places where the vessel can be scuttled while leaving them accessible to teams of people who are able to dismantle the vessel – cutting it apart and finding new uses for each part that had been component of the formerly floating structure that had been moving through water.

Here, in Hay River, on the world’s largest lake what happens? This boat has been pulled from the water and seemingly kept, but for what reason. Does the former sea-worthy vessel have use for parts or perhaps for training? Or is it, that the ‘what-next’ for the vessel needs a good, reasonable next step or perhaps a next step that generates revenue? And, is the vessel towed so far so that it simply resides on company-owned real estate? Questions …. Nonetheless, a full ocean-going, lake-bound vessel among trees does become an interesting image.

Listening to – Peter Gabriel’s ‘Come Talk to Me,’ ‘Steam,’ ‘Across the River,’ ‘Shaking the Tree’ and ‘Blood of Eden.’

Quote to Inspire – “Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.” – Bruno Barbey

Edmonton – Freshly Green in June

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 30D, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Journaling, Lookback Photos - One Year Ago, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Season, Spring, Still Life, Weather
Skyline - Edmonton, Alberta

Skyline – Edmonton, Alberta

Of all reasons to take up photography, the most significant and most poignant is to draw together memory of home. Edmonton’s Skyline from the southeast, from Strathearn Drive is the strongest memory I have of Edmonton. My grandparents’ last Edmonton home was on Strathearn Drive and my grandfather always had my brother’s and I out for a hike before a Sunday dinner with family, through this river valley, walking within this valley being a primary form of transportation for him and his (my mother’s) family, something more economical and much healthier than riding a bus or taking the family car down town. Perhaps one of my grandfather’s influences in my Life is one of appreciating the value of exercise and the achievement of exercise. Never a day would go by without my granddad getting out for a minimum of an hour’s walk wherever he was in the world. For me, Edmonton’s skyline recalls all the cycling I had done in Edmonton’s river valley through each summer listening to audiobooks and to music on a Sony Walkman.

This Edmonton skyline image recalls family history – our return to Edmonton via CN Rail and the CN Tower from Montreal in 1964, our first returned days at the Hotel MacDonald, the adventures with Scouts hiking through this valley and excursions to the top of the AGT Tower (now Telus Tower), Canada Place on the right is where we got our passports and on the left I had an Edmonton Journal paper route on 111 Avenue running from the Westbury Apartment to the Grandin Apartments. This image of Edmonton recalls the cool, fresh, wet weather of June. The photo is taken at the western most end of Strathearn drive that overlooks that part of Connor’s hill where the Edmonton Folk Festival is staged each August.

Listening to – Schubert’s Rondo in A for Violin and String, D. 438.

Quote to Inspire – “Quit trying to find beautiful objects to photograph. Find the ordinary objects so you can transform it by photographing it.” – Morley Baer

Waiting … Unused, Boarded-Up

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Light Intensity, Lookback Photos - One Year Ago, Night, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Season, Weather, Winter
Hay River, NWT - Boats 1

Hay River, NWT – Boats 1

Hay River, NWT - Boats 2

Hay River, NWT – Boats 2

Hay River, NWT - Boats 3

Hay River, NWT – Boats 3

Hay River, NWT - Boats 4

Hay River, NWT – Boats 4

Hay River, NWT - Boats 5

Hay River, NWT – Boats 5

In January’s winter, huge, huge boats – complex structures, rigged out with all kinds of equipment to make them self-reliant and useful upon the water – have been dragged to ground from the world’s largest lake – the Great Slave Lake; the boats wait, unused, boarded-up and dormant within acres and acres of Hay River’s boat yard. Canada’s Great Slave Lake is large enough to make transport of materials more efficient, faster and more direct when these boats are used than when moving materials around the perimeter of the lake by transport truck. These boats have names – Jock McNiven, Lister, Horn River, and Radium Empress – and in being named do stir curiosity about the origin of such reminiscence in each boat’s appellation. Snowy and overcast, the day yields -26C at 5:00 p.m. on a January winter day in Canada’s Hay River, Northwest Territories; overnight it will get colder. It’s the kind of day when a Hay River resident keeps an eye out for the potential of a stranded motorist, a neighbor, needing a tow from the snow bank or a boost of their car/truck’s battery. People living in Hay River know how to live in Hay River.

Listening to – Enrique Iglesias – ‘When I Fall in Love,’ with words on You Tube, a song our school’s custodian frets at this day’s end upon a Yamaha guitar … good, good schtuff!

Quote to Inspire – “I have the great privilege of being both witness and storyteller. Intimacy, trust and intuition guide my work.” – Jim Goldberg

Grown-In, Intact

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Live View, Flora, Light Intensity, Lookback Photos - One Year Ago, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Season, Spring
Cattail 1

Cattail 1

Cattail 2

Cattail 2

Summer – cattail shapes feature as photographic interest alone and in clusters. More an architectural entity, the cattails found seemed always to have their skins split and fuzzy cotton interior bursting forth. Not until August were full cylindrical (hot dog) shapes to be found, grown-in, intact, new.

Listening to – ‘Soft Place in My Heart’ by Buddy Holly & Bob Montgomery (1955, Wichitaw Falls, Texas).

Quote to Inspire – “A roll of film costs $6.00 – a roll of history is priceless.” – Anonymous

Grain Elevators – St. Albert, Alberta

Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Live View, Christmas, Farm, Home, Photoblog Intention, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Rail Yard, Sigma Lens - Wide Angle 10-20mm, Winter

Grain Elevators - St. Albert, Alberta 1

Grain Elevators - St. Albert, Alberta 2

New Year’s Day – in Edmonton and its surrounding region the daylight hours of 2013 are sun-filled against a backdrop of blue sky. I’m out, looking around at the world with my camera, making my way from Edmonton’s west end, through its University area and Whyte Avenue. My wife, daughter and son are at my brother’s home reading … and there’s some baking going on.

I have some of the day with my camera.

The Edmonton Clinic at the University of Alberta reveals itself to be something eye-catching when complete – a longish curve of glass that will stretch for a city block in length and upwards about eight stories; the building will be about reflection as much as the glass permits a looking in on all that’s going on. But, the photo is not for today; the construction is still in progress and from the best angle impedes what is likely the best shot.

The day does hold its share of shots as I move to the Molson Brewery site that’s being dismantled. Then, it’s out to St. Albert to Edmonton’s northwest. My wife has recalled our seeing grain elevators as we drove into St. Albert last summer for a huge farmer’s market and she recommends searching for them. I have a look and discover that the grain elevators are part of a heritage museum in St. Albert. The elevators are behind chain-link fence, yet I can still photograph them.

I move from St. Albert west towards Spruce Grove. I use an elasticized, nylon tow rope to pull out someone in a silver, Dodge Dakota whose slid into a country ditch with the snow. On this road are many old farms and farm structures to photograph. But, at this time of day with an upcoming get family together this part of the day is about scouting visually for possible shots … for next time.

Listening to – Paul Gross and the Due South soundtrack.

Quote to Inspire – “My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.” – Steve McCurry

Summerland – Sleepless Slumber

Backlight, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Christmas, Light Intensity, Night, Winter
Summerland Boat Launch 1

Summerland Boat Launch 1

Summerland Boat Launch 2

Summerland Boat Launch 2

Summerland Day Use Area 1

Summerland Day Use Area 1

Summerland Day Use Area 2

Summerland Day Use Area 2

Sleepless after our second daylong endeavor of sorting through the personal effects and estate of my wife’s father, Ivan, prompts the opportunity for night photography in Summerland along Lake Okanagon. Quietly stealing away, I leave my wife to her slumber. With camera, tripod, cold-weather gear and Ivan’s Hyundai Tucson I tour through Summerland for image opportunities.

My drive toward Summerland’s centre begins in finding two RCMP cruisers outside the Summerland Daycare; they are responding to something. Later, I find Christmas decorations are still all aglow on many Summerland homes – houses worthy of becoming part of any city’s Candy Cane Lane; a week beyond New Years’ day people are not wanting to let go of season – Christmas stretches on into 2013. Beyond the Summerland roundabout a church designed by Italian architects reflects style in the currency of the 1920’s in its use of timber and stone – a photograph, here, will be something better in daylight … an image to postpone. Several homes interest me in terms of structure and in how they are perched on vistas that take advantage of mountain heights and view high above Lake Okanagon.

Later, I come back down to the shoreline of Lake Okanagon – there’s an S-curve of a road surrounding one side of a day-use area; the lake itself surrounding the grounds on the other side. Lighting within the park colours snow in gold and reflects across the unfrozen Okanagon Lake. A boat launch reaches out into the lake to that unseen point of embarkation – eerily, with my father-in-law’s passing the image recalls Dylan Thomas verse ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,’ … “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Listening to Peter Gabriel – ‘Come Talk to Me’, ‘Steam’, ‘Across the River’, ‘Blood of Eden’ and ‘Sledgehammer’; tonight, v-tuner’s tuned to Electronica – Radio One and “Blueless Invidia”.

Quote to Inspire – “A photo is a small voice, at best, but sometimes – just sometimes – one photograph or a group of them can lure our senses into awareness. Much depends upon the viewer; in some, photographs can summon enough emotion to be a catalyst to thought.” – W. Eugene Smith

Cattails – Eastern lakeshore

Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Christmas, Flora, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Still Life, Winter
Eastern Lakeshore - Cattails

Eastern Lakeshore – Cattails

A day or two after Christmas 2012, my brother and I got our families outside snowshoeing at Chickahoo Lake. In fresh air, our group got themselves tromping around the lake; I did so with my camera finding these cattails along the eastern lakeshore.

Listening to much of Jack Johnson this morning – Banana Pancakes, Sleep Through the Static, Bubble Toes and Staple It Together.

Quote to Inspire – “A photograph has picked up a fact of life, and that fact will live forever.” Raghu Rai

Barbed and Anchored

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 60D, Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 IS L Series Lens, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Farmhouse, Home, Homestead, Journaling, Light Intensity, Lookback Photos - One Year Ago, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Season, Still Life, Winter
Fence Post and Homestead

Fence Post and Homestead

December winter scene – homestead and trees, land that once was broken, now fenced in – protected, reminding and reminiscent of lives and the work of living. Snow blankets dormant land and caps a fence post, one among many anchoring three strands of barbed wire used to hold animals to this area of land while they graze. Horizon, sky, former home, snow and wood’s texture, softer muted colours – all hold my eye and attention.

Listening to – Madeleine Peyroux’s J’ai Deux Amours, Kenny Gamble’s Me and Mrs. Jones, Toni Sola’s Night Sounds Blues, and Burt Bacharach’s (They Long to Be) Close to You, recognizable songs among others that form the From Paris With Love Soundtrack.

Quote to Inspire – “Emotion or feeling is really the only thing about pictures I find interesting. Beyond that is just a trick.” – Christopher Anderson

Beyond the Mayan’s Calendar – To Christmas 2012

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Farmhouse, Flora, Journaling, Lookback Photos - One Year Ago, Photoblog Intention, Prime Lens, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Season, Still Life, Summer

Saturday, we are two Saturdays before the Christmas of 2012. The Mayan calendar that had threatened to cancel all of time’s forward movement now seems unlikely to halt the movement of the moon and planets; the clock and calendar will continue to tick on, day by day.

Tonight, it’s been television with family – The Barbie Nutcracker and now Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby in White Christmas. Today, Christmas plans have been considered; how our few Christmas days will be spent with family has been hammered through. We will see my father, we will see my brothers, our kids – the cousins will gather and shop and talk; there will be Christmas games and family times … and photos. For us, way up north, most Christmas gifts have been gathered. Some discussions still need that – discussion; but, the gifting of gifts is being sorted through and understood with good understanding. A photo of a Rocky Lane homestead house, already framed upon my wall will become present for my father, a pioneering reminder/analogy for my father and his Edmonton work at Edmonton Works – the textures and highlights and colours work well together and hold the eye and interest of the viewer.

Tonight, there’s the excited buzz of cousins chatting at a distance over the telephone about the possibilities that their Christmas will hold – a holiday is being planned, places to shop are being determined and things asked for are being disclosed. There’s been a daughter/father phone call checking in on how Christmas will be spent at another location where we will not be; there’s been goodwill there and solid encouragement to spend time with that son of ours who’s been away at University these last four months. As things wind down at work, things are winding up for the Christmas we will make for our family and friends – last evening it was a joy just to sit around a kitchen table at a friend’s home, to chat and dig a little deeper into that thing we call Life … friendship’s blessing – something I’ve been able to count upon all year.

Today’s been a slower one, a day for recovery from a weeklong cold, a day to exercise and yet a day to slow down and gather energy. I fell asleep watching the Shawshank Redemption, a film that Steve Stockman (Stocki) has often recommended. I’ve been editing photographs today, older ones from within this year … a second glance, a second edit and the second-sight of understanding visual narrative within images; it’s been a time to experiment and play … a good day.

Listening to – Holly Golightly’s Wherever You Were, Tim Armstrong’s Into Action, Hawaii Five-O by the Ventures, Nazareth’s This Flight Tonight and Joy sung by Mick Jagger with Bono.

Quote to Inspire – “With photography, I like to create fiction out of reality. I try and do this by taking society’s natural prejudice and giving this a twist.” – Martin Parr

Last Inhabitants – No Longer Tended To

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Farm, Flora, Homestead, Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Season, Still Life, Weather, Winter
Grain Stocks - Fairview, Alberta

Grain Stocks – Fairview, Alberta

Under grey, foreboding winter skies, grain stocks remain – last inhabitants of this farmer’s field. Missed by the threshing blade, iced with snow and blown by every breeze they remain, still standing, no longer tended to.

Listening to – Martyn Joseph’s Cardiff Bay, Strange Way and The Great American Novel.

Quote to Inspire – “Not everybody trusts paintings; but, people believe photographs.” – Ansel Adams